I felt right at home as we arrived into a wet and foggy Seattle tonight. No snow, no ice, and 45°F/ 7°C. My flights from Denver to Seattle are not too long, but sometimes I get ‘cabin fever’ and I cannot wait to arrive so that I can stretch my legs. And gone are the days that there is even one open seat on the plane (at the times of the day that I fly). There have been dramatic changes since the Airline Deregulation Act of 1978 was signed into law.
From Wikipedia : In 2011, Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer (who worked with Senator Kennedy on airline deregulation in the 1970s) wrote: What does the industry’s history tell us? Was this effort worthwhile? Certainly it shows that every major reform brings about new, sometimes unforeseen, problems. No one foresaw the industry’s spectacular growth, with the number of air passengers increasing from 207.5 million in 1974 to 721.1 million last year. As a result, no one foresaw the extent to which new bottlenecks would develop: a flight-choked Northeast corridor, overcrowded airports, delays, and terrorist risks consequently making air travel increasingly difficult. Nor did anyone foresee the extent to which change might unfairly harm workers in the industry. Still, fares have come down. Airline revenue per passenger mile has declined from an inflation-adjusted 33.3 cents in 1974, to 13 cents in the first half of 2010. In 1974 the cheapest round-trip New York-Los Angeles flight (in inflation-adjusted dollars) that regulators would allow: $1,442. Today one can fly that same route for $268. That is why the number of travelers has gone way up. So we sit in crowded planes, munch potato chips, flare up when the loudspeaker announces yet another flight delay. But how many now will vote to go back to the “good old days” of paying high, regulated prices for better service?